The Top Executive MBAs Name Their Favorite Professors


Duke's Mohan Venkatachalam

Duke’s Mohan Venkatachalam

Understand Their Audience

Mohan Venkatachalam because his enthusiasm for the topic and teaching style made accounting interesting and because he focused us on the information in financial statements that are most important for executives.” – Peter Saba / Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

Connect The Academic To The Real World

Professor Arvind Bhambri is my favorite professor. He is very methodical, precise and thorough with his teaching.  He provided us with invaluable frameworks that I was able to use to advise our business leaders on modifying our current strategy. It had a great impact on their decision to promote me in a business development position for Roche’s key technology.” – Pierre-Marie del Moral / University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business 


UCLA's Bill Cockrum

UCLA’s Bill Cockrum

“My favorite professor is Professor Bill Cockrum because throughout the duration of his course, Finance for the Emerging Enterprise, he placed the highest priority on managerial action.  In addition to teaching our class the tools and techniques to be successful in managing the finances of a growing enterprise, he always related those tools back to managerial action and decision-making.  This is something that I found incredibly helpful in learning these concepts as he always forced us to analyze what the data shows, and how we could work within the constraints of any situation to take action and make changes necessary to run a profitable, sustainable company.” Derek Herrera / UCLA, Anderson School of Management

“This was the most difficult question for me. There are so many extremely talented and engaging professors at MIT. Was it Professor Michelle Hanlon in Accounting?  Learning Accounting is like becoming fluent in a foreign language in one semester.  Michelle Hanlon not only made it easy to understand, but she also made it interesting and thought-provoking (fairly amazing considering that it’s accounting)!  Perhaps it was the statistics duo – Dimitris Bertsimas and Allison O’Hair – they had a great tag-team approach. Professor Bertsimas would give us an interesting real world application and Professor O’Hair would help us actually understand the mathematics and the models.  I also thoroughly enjoyed Professor Ozalp Ozer in Operations, there was so much meat to that class and it helped me understand how processes should work and why sometimes they don’t. In fact, in looking back, there is not a professor I did not enjoy and they all should be mentioned here.  I even asked half a dozen fellow classmates and received a different answer from each one of them.  So I’ve decided to change the question to allow me to expand on my favorite course. My favorite class was Organizational Processes (OP), the title of this class does not actually offer insight into what the class is about. OP teaches you about the bones of an organization through three lenses – structural, political and cultural.  When you break down a company, how things get done in an organization and how work is performed in a company, it really comes back to these three things. The class teaches you how to step back from your daily routine, look around you, and strategically attack problems in your organizations by understanding and addressing all three vantage points. This class was co-taught by Roberto Fernandez and Ray Reagans, both of them (combined with all my other MIT professors) could be categorized as my favorites.” – Ashley Sager / MIT, Sloan School of Management

Minnesota's Aks Zaheer

Minnesota’s Aks Zaheer

Set High Expectations

Aks Zaheer, my strategy professor, is my favorite because of his passion, expectation for excellence, and concern for his students. He challenged me to not only know and understand the Five Forces, but to think about competitive advantages for firms, cities and universities. He also exhibits a wonderful sense of humility, as he began his class by explaining, “my boss’s boss’s boss is my wife, Dean Zaheer, so I know my place in the world.” He is a class act.” – Erin Dady, University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management 




Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.